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Bicheno (pop ~700) is one of Tasmania's most beautiful towns and one of the most popular holiday destinations. It began life as a sealing and whaling town and then transitioned to a coal mining port (shipping coal mined inland at Fingal), but today crayfishing is the largest industry.
Bicheno is blessed with many natural attractions, including a mild climate, beaches and superb fishing of almost every type, but has not relied solely upon these. The town offers many activities for tourists, including a scuba diving school, and two vineyards (Freycinet Vineyard and Coombend Estate, south of town). The grave of Tasmanian Aboriginal heroine Waubedebar is in Bicheno.
For those not willing to don scuba gear and venture into the sea themselves, the Sea Life Centre can view marine life up-close at one of several aquariums; several of the species are only found in Tasmanian waters. Out-of-water animals can be found at the Bird Life & Animal Park, which has many different types of waterfowl plus Tasmanian animals such as the Tasmanian devil.
Fairy penguins can be observed on Diamond Island. A guided "penguin tour" is available which provides safe transport to the island and educational information.
Immediately north of Bicheno is the Douglas-Apsley National Park. Designated to protect a dry eucalypt forest, this 16,080 ha. park has numerous scenic features, from Heritage Falls to calm water holes.
In the Directory
There are about thirty diving locations around Bicheno.
At the eastern side of Governor Island 60 hectares have been declared a Marine Reserve where dense sponge gardens and caves with invertebrate life can be found.
South of the marine reserve are the famous kelpbeds, growing from 18 meters up to the surface. These kelpbeds offer a habitat for nudibranchs, sea spiders, shrimp, crabs, abalone, rock lobsters, sea stars, basket stars and a variety of reef fish, who find food and shelter here.
Australian fur seals, humpback whales, minke whales, orcas, southern right whales and bottlenose dolphins frequently visit this area between autumn and spring.